Never Burn a Bridge

Why should you always maintain a good report with a business even when you are parting ways?

It is human nature to get mad and then rant and rave about what is not going well at work. Many of us spend time gossiping and socializing with the main topic of what the problems are and who is responsible. Although it may be a way to vent, it is not the way to gain further business with a client. When a relationship is no longer working, always debrief your findings, give suggestions for solving the problems and walk away with a handshake. It is this professionalism that will gain you respect and possibly more business in the future. Remember that the business relationship must be preserved in order to move forward with other business. You do not need to add skeletons to your closet, as you never know when someone you want to do business with will know the client that you just concluded your relationship with.

Never burning a bridge is one of the most difficult things to do in business. In the past, I have burnt a few and it has always come back to haunt me. I have made it a point to say that things are not working out, let's go our separate ways but remain friends. This may sound ridiculous but somewhere in the future, you will meet up with that person in a position that has a direct influence on whether you are the selected company or not. If you have burnt the bridge, you can be assured that the business will go elsewhere.

I know this from experience. I worked for a person in government where I had a contract to provide certain services; even though my work was exemplary, this "boss" kept changing what was wanted. As a result, I quit in frustration and let them know how I felt. It felt good at the time, but then a couple of years later, I was bidding on a big training project and to my horror, this very same person was making the final decision. I did not get the business even though we had the best offering.

I think the worst thing of all was the egg on my face when I had gone to all the work of presenting a proposal. I had my staff all ready to go. Going back to the company and explaining we lost the bid because of my past actions was not an easy task, but we all learned from it and believe me, I will go to any length to keep a relationship and forgo the work.

Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people's attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the "Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit http://www.BlueprintBooks.com

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Small Business Hiring Slows  The Wall Street Journal

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